Strange Invisible Perfumes Celebrates 10 Years!

Celebrate Strange Invisible Perfumes’ 10th Anniversary with a 10% off Promotion Code. It’s valid from February 23-March 4, 2010 online. The code is SIP2010. And do visit their new website, it’s beautiful and so much easier to navigate!

Here are some of my SIP reviews if your interested is piqued:

Lyric Rain

Fire and Cream


Magazine Street

Posted by ~Trish


Strange Invisible Perfume’s Latest Release: Fire and Cream

fire and cream

Fire and Cream launches today, the newest fragrance from Alexandra Balahoutis, perfumer and creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes. The name Fire and Cream is not so much descriptive of the perfume, but rather of Ms. Balahoutis, as she created this fragrance for herself. Yet, Fire and Cream not only alludes to her red hair and pale complexion, it also refers to the sky one summer evening when Ms. Balahoutis looked at what must have been a gorgeous sunset and thought, “The sky is full of fire and cream.”

Fire and Cream begins with heaps of pure orange, and a healthy dose of herbaceous white lavender. Both hydro-distilled orange and orange blossoms are in the top notes, allowing for a luscious mix of rich citrus, sweet blossoms and aromatic lavender. The herbal quality continues into the heart of the fragrance where frankincense and tuberose enter the picture. I confess that my nose did not pick up these individual notes, (they are listed on the press release), but I did sense resinous and mildly heady after about an hour. I also took note of vetiver which is listed as a base note, but mingles unabashedly throughout the fragrance hierarchy. In fact, Fire and Cream reminds me of Magazine Street with its similar vetiver vigor, (blended beautifully with vanilla) but Fire and Cream is toned down on the sweetness and turned up on the herbaceousness.

Another similarity to Magazine Street is the well-mannered patchouli dry-down that gives both fragrances an earthy yet smooth base. Fire and Cream still remains much more aromatic than the more confectionary Magazine Street, and I do believe it would wear very well on a man. In addition, the drydown comes full circle with a glimpse of its lovely orange opening. Alongside sandalwood, the final unfolding evokes petitgrain, an essence which can easily be worn by a man or woman.

Fire and Cream also seems to be one of those fragrances that will move effortlessly from season to season. The citrus/lavender duo is not overbearing in its liveliness and the patchouli/frankincense/tuberose triad never becomes a heavy floriental. All notes are well-balanced and being a fan of Magazine Street, I am enjoying that it feels like a familiar favorite, but is different in its cologne-esque edge.

So is there fire and cream in Fire and Cream? I’m not sure the name befits the juice in the literal sense, but I do love the fragrance itself and the story of a stunning sunset as its inspiration. But I’m certainly no red head with a pale complexion. I’m a brunette with brown eyes and olive skin. So Alexandra, you’re gonna have to move over…Fire and Cream is mine!

Leave a comment and you will be entered in a giveaway to receive a sample of Fire and Cream direct from Strange Invisible Perfumes. There will be two lucky winners! You will have until Sunday September 20th at 10pm Pacific time to enter. US entries only this time. Good luck! The winners have been chosen.

Strange Invisible Perfumes Commitment (from their press kit):

Strange Invisible Perfumes is committed to respecting and preserving the earth. Its practices as a company, boutique, and manufacturer are vibrantly green. All products are authentically pure and natural. They are completely free of synthetic preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, parabens, petroleum, coal tar, and industrial phthalates. While sincerely recognizing the value of organic certification, Strange Invisible Perfumes adheres to its own standards of purity and authenticity, which are arguably far more rigorous. The company aggressively pursues ingredients that are organic, fair trade, wildcrafted, and biodynamically cultivated, with every ingredient satisfying at least one measure. All perfumes are set in a base of 100% organic grape alcohol. Ecologically sound packaging reinforces its green stance.

Fire and Cream is available at Strange Invisible Perfumes

posted by ~Trish


Los Angeles Sniffing: Part I

The reason for my Los Angelean journey was two-fold; to visit dear friends and attend Yosh’s perfume exhibit at the natural perfume studio, Blunda. Persephenie Schnyder, the owner of Blunda, has been hosting these events which allow perfumers to showcase their natural perfumes, discuss them, and most importantly, engage with us essence loving scent hounds.

SIP Boutique

But my Southern California adventure did not begin there. When my partner-in-sniffing-crime, duVergne, (who wrote about Ayala’s Blunda event here) picked me up from the airport, we headed straight for Venice. As some of you may know… this meant our destination was Strange Invisible Perfumes. I had never been to the SIP boutique, but immediately felt at home in the shop’s environment and plunked myself down at the bar which beautifully displays their Eau de Parfums and Pure Parfums. I knew duVergne and I would be there a while, and indeed we were. This was in large part due to Nic, one of the best, if not the best sales associate I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She was well versed regarding every scent and had intelligent and thoughtful comments about the fragrances whether they were on the test strips or on our skin. So yeah, we hung out with our new BFF for quite a while.

I finally got to experience SIP’s Black Rosette, an incredibly dry and resinous, leathery rose. Very unique and beautiful, but not quite what I wanted in the summer heat. (Come winter time, I could imagine wanting to cozy up to that one). Prima Ballerina is another rose offering from SIP, but entirely different from Black Rosette. It’s a pretty, rosy floral, with some sage and the subtlest of botanical musk making it an original rose, yet familiar and comforting at the same time. I’m in love with it and was this close to buying a bottle. What finally won the full bottle contest was Magazine Street, that perfect blend of vanilla and vetiver, with just a smidge of patchouli to really bring out vetiver’s herbal quality. I wrote about how much I adore Magazine Street here, so it’s no surprise that’s what I chose. Not to mention that in the Los Angeles summer heat, Magazine Street’s soft vanilla blossomed so elegantly. Yes…the deal was done.


We begrudgingly said our goodbyes to Nic and looked forward to the next day which started on the late side at The Little Next Door. (Many thanks to Ayala for that recommendation!) As fate would have it, Le Labo was unknowingly just a few blocks away. I had no idea I’d glean so much sniffing pleasure from a visit there. Again, a fabulous sales associate, Ellie, made all the difference. She was delightful to work with and allowed me to experience everything in the store at my own pace. Even though Le Labo does use synthetics, this is not always a deal breaker for me if I really love a fragrance and I am pleased to report that they do not use phthalates in their products. While most of the fragrances were interesting and unique, Iris 39 had me in its grip from the moment I sniffed it on the scent strip. So on the skin it went via their dry body oil. Le Labo’s Iris 39 brings forth the violet facet of iris that I love, but it’s not sweet or too precious. It’s also not powdery or soapy, but gently crisp without being woody. I need to spend more time with it, as well as the Oud 29 sample I received.

Le Labo was like a candy store as they have single essences, dried roots and herbs, as well as their Olfactionary for customers to explore. The Olfactionary contains vials of 40 essences, many of which I had never smelled. Tonka bean was probably my favorite single raw material. Alone, it smelled of tobacco, almond and vanilla. It was sweet and intoxicating. Ambrette oil had a beautiful contrast of sweet florals and boozy earthiness. Apart from the Olfactionary were jars of dried ambrette seeds which compared to the oil was much more tannic, similar to that of Hibiscus tea.


Galbanum is not a part of the Olfactionary, but is available behind the counter to smell as well as at least 50 other raw materials. I was particularly enthusiastic about having the chance to partake in this cherished resin which blew me away with its grassy, bitter, herbal woodiness. It packs a mighty punch and I loved every inhalation! Smelling Le Labo’s iris root (orris) was also an extraordinary experience as I was stunned by its warm, mushroom-like quality and its simultaneous tang. It was not overly floral like the iris oil, and just the sight of these dried gems will take your imagination to an enchanted forest.

In the interest of keeping this post a reasonable length, I’ll continue it in a couple of days with more essence discoveries at Blunda as well as the details on Yosh’s exhibit!

Posted by ~Trish

SIP Boutique image from Citysearch
Iris image from
Galbanum image from I Smell Therefore I Am


Strange Invisible Perfumes: Magazine Street

Magazine Street, the fragrance, opens with what some have called the medicinal note common to Strange Invisible Perfumes. This is the first Srange Invisible Perfumes fragrance that I have found to have a medicinal quality, but it is ever so fleeting and it is not disagreeable. Rather, it is an introduction to the interplay between the earthiness of the vetiver/patchouli duo and the sweetness of the vanilla/magnolia duo. And while the patchouli offers an herbal mossiness, within this dance, it is the vetiver and vanilla that dominate the floor. The patchouli rests quietly at the base and the magnolia flutters gently like a butterfly. Ultimately, both flit away leaving Magazine Street all about the balsamy green vanilla one might be thrilled to wear instead of the glut of foody, cloyingly vanillic perfumes on the market today.


Having never been to New Orleans, I cannot muse about the city personally or comment on if the namesake perfume does it any specific justice. But I will say this fragrance could easily be worn on a sultry evening; hold its own in a smoky jazz club and last through several rounds of sazeracs, followed by beignets in the morning. It’s an exceptionally stunning perfume, and I whole heartedly recommend Magazine Street to anyone, not just those who seek natural perfumes. This earthy green vanillic scent will delight you if you wear it, and anyone else who nuzzles in close enough to enjoy it on your skin.


Strange Invisible Perfumes creates their fragrances in two strengths, Parfum and Eaux de Parfum (EdP). This review is for the EdP which is less expensive than the very costly Parfum. (Personally I have found the EdPs to last longer than the Parfums anyway). Strange Invisible Perfumes was founded by Alexandra Balahoutis whose shop is in Venice, Ca. Her ingredients are all natural, organic and never synthetic. Please see her website for her comprehensive green mission statement. 


Strange Invisible Perfumes are available at Strange Invisible Perfumes and Beautyhabit. Decants of Magazine Street are available from The Perfumed Court.

Posted by ~Trish